The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems used in commercial buildings are highly energy-intensive. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), about 30% of the energy used in commercial properties goes to waste. To increase sustainability and decrease operating costs, your business must reduce the amount of energy wasted from powering HVAC systems and equipment.
Take the following steps to improve your HVAC system’s efficiency and save money on your energy bill today.
Automating HVAC Systems Can Optimize Energy Consumption
Make your building HVAC automation even smarter with accurate people counting data. Automating control of HVAC systems based on space utilization ensures your energy usage is better aligned with demand. Adjust HVAC support to meet the needs of dynamic occupancy levels as they fluctuate throughout the day or week. The building operator can monitor and adjust the facility’s temperature to better fit your unique schedule. You can reduce HVAC energy consumption on low foot traffic days while maintaining comfort in occupied areas or on days with increased traffic.
Knowing how many people enter or exit your building and which rooms they can occupy enables you to locate spaces of limited use that can be closed or let go of completely. Other benefits of people counting systems for automating HVAC control include lower operational costs and less environmental impact. Optimize workplace policies for efficient space utilization to minimize your carbon footprint. HVAC automation can also improve employee retention and customer attraction by demonstrating your commitment to helping the environment.
Overhead people counting sensors give your building HVAC automation systems the data they need to be as efficient as possible. When paired with programmable thermostats, smart sensor integration makes managing your cooling and heating requirements easy. Program automated HVAC settings that occur under certain conditions. For example, you can program the HVAC system to reduce its output after office hours and cut down a significant portion of your energy waste. Your business can use Traf-Sys people counters to save money by only using an optimal energy output when needed.
Perform Routine Maintenance
Energy-efficient building operation requires a preventative maintenance program with operational strategies to keep energy use low. Operation and maintenance best practices serve to minimize energy usage without significant capital investment. When your HVAC system operates efficiently, you also prevent unscheduled downtime, improve equipment longevity, reduce operating costs and maintain comfort for employees.
Here are three commercial HVAC tips to ensure efficient system operation.
1. Change Your HVAC Filters Regularly
Most cases of HVAC system inefficiency or failure are caused by dirt and neglect. Clogged filters restrict airflow, overworking the heating and cooling systems, so they become less efficient. This scenario often leads to higher operating costs and poorer air quality. Dust and dirt buildup may even cause expensive repairs or early system failure.
When you replace dirty filters with clean ones, your HVAC system consumes 5% to 15% less energy. Check your air filters every month, especially during seasons of heavy use. Change your filters at least every three months or whenever you notice dirt accumulation. Air filters are typically designed for user-friendly replacement, meaning you can start enforcing this preventative strategy today.
2. Schedule Periodic Equipment Checkups
Faulty performance causes greater energy consumption. As your HVAC equipment ages, regular quality maintenance will keep your systems from wasting energy. It is essential to find a qualified technician to perform periodic checkups on your HVAC equipment. They will correct any faults, prevent future problems and improve overall performance.
Your technician should complete HVAC system maintenance each spring and fall. Avoid waiting until winter or summer to schedule equipment checkups, as these are the months when you will most need a working HVAC system. Schedule maintenance around the beginning and end of daylight saving time every year to help you avoid potential downtime, minimize unexpected repair costs, and maintain client comfort.
3. Replace Systems That Surpass Their Lifetime
Once your building’s HVAC system or equipment reaches the suggested life span, it’s time to replace it with a newer, more efficient model. Consider replacing old units with products that have earned the ENERGY STAR label. Certified air conditioners may reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 20% — improving sustainability with a high-efficiency product. An ENERGY STAR qualified boiler will be 5% more efficient than a standard replacement, while ENERGY STAR qualified furnaces serve to improve efficiency by around 15%.
Choose Your HVAC System Wisely
To ensure the right system for your unique needs, consider the following factors before purchasing:
In addition to cutting your energy costs, the right sized HVAC equipment will increase your system’s lifetime and reduce pollution. According to the Consortium of Energy Efficiency, at least 25% of all rooftop HVAC systems are oversized for their needs. An HVAC unit that is too large leads to increased equipment wear and energy costs. Meanwhile, HVAC systems that are too small won’t reach all areas of your building.
Your location provides crucial information about overall climate and seasonal temperatures, factors that could impact the specific HVAC equipment you install. For example, dry areas with hotter climates require a more powerful refrigeration unit than standard. Consider how temperature fluctuations and extremes may also impact your HVAC systems.
Once you determine the best HVAC system for your needs, you want to invest in a trusted brand. Research different manufacturers of the equipment you need. Buildings without space for huge air ducts may require a ductless system to provide adequate cooling or heating for the entire area. A packaged system could benefit smaller buildings by handling both heating and cooling with one unit.
Ensure Properly Sealed Heating and Cooling Ducts
Forced-air heating and cooling systems use ducts to distribute conditioned air throughout buildings. Proper sealing prevents hot or cool air from escaping on the way to its intended destination. Leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts cause your HVAC system to work harder. The increased heating and cooling requirements result in higher energy costs. Minimizing air leaks and improving air duct performance can make your HVAC system about 20% more efficient.
Ducts are often concealed in attics, crawlspaces, basements, walls and ceilings. This can make it challenging to check and repair those housed in enclosed spaces. Ensure your ducts are sealed with mastic, foil tape or an aerosol-based sealant. You can enhance the sealing effect by insulating any ducts you can access, such as those in the attic, basement or garage. Ducts in these areas tend to be unprotected, so the added insulation will significantly boost efficiency.
Look for a qualified HVAC contractor who will also repair ductwork. Your trusted HVAC technician will help ensure all your bases are covered so you get the most out of your HVAC system. Regular checkups that include your heating and cooling ducts will make your HVAC equipment more efficient and less resource-intensive.
Improve Commercial HVAC Optimization With Traf-Sys
We provide information and analysis on people counting to help you manage which rooms require more or less HVAC support. Monitor how many people enter and exit certain areas of your facility and create custom occupancy levels based on the space utilization. Knowing the number of people in your building and which rooms are open can help you adjust your HVAC equipment for increased efficiency.
We understand the unique challenges that come with controlling a commercial HVAC system. Our comprehensive software and systems help you understand your customers and their habits, improving their comfort and reducing energy waste in unoccupied areas. To learn how you can optimize your commercial HVAC system, contact Traf-Sys and discover what a people counting system can do for your business.